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By: Sharon Aron Baron
Over 500 student and parents rallied outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Thursday afternoon protesting what many feel is the unfair treatment of their Principal.
High school Principal Washington Collado’s contract will not be renewed due to a new controversial grading system that many feel places too much emphasis on complaints from a handful of parents and not on the achievements of the principal and the school in which they administer. In Collado’s case, his school is one of the top schools in the nation according to Newsweek, and consistently ranks as one of the top schools in Florida.
Coral Springs Talk reported yesterday that the the grading system matrix, created by Chief of School Performance & Accountability and Area Superintendent, Dr. Desmond Blackburn, was created as part of his doctoral dissertation in philosophy, which leads parents to believe that this is not a proven method of grading Principals and Assistant Principals and may have many careers on the line because of it.
“I’m shocked,” said Executive Director of Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association, Lisa Maxwell, “This wasn’t disclosed. We’re not guinea pigs for someone’s dissertation. This was never beta tested.”
Freshman student Jalesa Hamilton walked out of class on Thursday afternoon to show her support for the Principal. “I love Mr Collado. Mr Collado has been the best principal, he listens to the students and cares what they are doing. This is wrong….Mr Collado has four children so this will affect him, as well as us.”
Students and parents held signs while cars drove by. There was even a large RV that circled around the perimeter that read “Keep Collado at MSD” which honked and received cheers from the crowd.
Broward Sheriff’s Office was on hand to control the crowds but the students were exceptionally well-behaved. The only issue was keeping the students off the roadways, but they listened to the Deputies when asked to move back.
Sophomore student Jonathan Benshushan said that he supports Principal Collado and wants him to stay. “He’s the best principal we have.”